Parathyroid Surgery

At Providence, our endocrinologists, radiologists, and endocrine surgeons work in partnership to provide personalized attention to your endocrine health.

When it comes to routine procedures like parathyroid surgery, our mission is to ensure you receive your treatment as comfortably as possible.

Parathyroid surgery is the partial (and in some cases complete) removal of parathyroid tissue.

Your parathyroid is made up of four small round glands located in your neck behind your thyroid. These glands release parathyroid hormone, an important hormone that helps regulate your growth and development by controlling the amount of calcium in your bloodstream.

Sometimes, the Parathyroid gland can overproduce parathyroid hormone (hyperparathyroidism), due to an enlargement of the gland or small tumors called adenomas. This results in hypercalcemia, which can lead to muscle aches, osteoporosis, abdominal pain, kidney stones and bone fractures.

Parathyroid surgery is a routine, minimally invasive procedure that uses general anesthesia. The procedure can take anywhere between one and three hours. Before your surgery, your surgeon will have you undergo a scan to find which of your four parathyroid glands will require removal.

During the procedure, your endocrine surgeon will make a minor horizontal incision in your neck. Your surgeon will then remove the abnormal parathyroid gland and seal the incision with surgical tape. A nerve monitor is used throughout the procedure ensuring no damage is done to the laryngeal nerves that surround your parathyroid.

Patients usually go home the same day as their procedure unless having undergone a total parathyroidectomy, where they’re monitored overnight to ensure a complication-free procedure.

As with any procedure, some risks and complications may arise. Some patients may experience a sore throat and hoarseness after parathyroid surgery. This discomfort usually goes away after 7-14 days. If more than three parathyroid glands are removed, there might be a need for calcium supplementation after surgery. Other possible side effects may include hematoma, weakness of vocal chords, obstruction of airways or an infection at the surgical site.